Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins

This is my family's recipe for grilled chicken, mexican-style. It is very similar to what you would get at El Pollo Loco fast food restaurants - although we were eating this way before they ever existed! Achiote powder should be available in most grocery stores' mexican spice section, but is easily found at mexican grocers or online. It imparts a subtle flavor that is definitely hispanic, and it also gives the chicken it's wonderful golden color. Prep time does not include marinating time. To cut calories, use skinless chicken, but it doesn't taste as good!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cut chicken breasts into two halves.
  2. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium high heat until very hot.
  3. While oil heats, mash cumin, salt, oregano, garlic and achiote powder into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Place the paste in a heat-proof bowl.
  4. Whisk hot oil into the garlic paste. Allow to cool slightly then add lime and orange juice, stirring well to combine.
  5. Pour marinade into a large ziploc bag, add chicken breast halves. Shake or knead to spread marinade throughout chicken.
  6. Refrigerate at least four hours to overnight.
  7. Grill over medium heat, turning, until chicken reaches internal temperature of 180 degrees.
  8. Place chicken on cutting board and let rest several minutes.
  9. Serve individually, or cut into bite sized pieces for making tacos or burritos.


Most Helpful

I finally got to try this, and boy was I glad I did! I had to sub boneless skinless breasts because I couldn't find any boneless ones with skin on, and I used achiote paste in place of the powder (I don't keep achiote powder on hand). The marinade smelled so good when the hot oil was added to the paste mixture! I let the chicken hang out in the fridge in the marinade for 2 days, until I had time to actually grill it on my indoor grill (SOMEDAY I'll talk DH into getting us a real grill, lol). The finished chicken came out so juicy and flavorful, but the flavoring was mild enough that any leftover cooked chicken could be used in so many different ways (soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, etc.). We enjoyed it as-is the first day, with Mexican rice, refried beans and fresh pico de gallo. Now I'm tossing up whether I want to use the leftover chicken to make tacos or chicken salad. Decisions, decisions. Sorry, no photo, both camera batteries were dead again :( . Thanks for posting! Made post-PAC Spring 2012

Muffin Goddess April 26, 2012

So glad to find this... I have had this in mexican grills and can do it myself now, it's a great recipe. I do it with bone-in chicken tho

Darren H. December 17, 2016

I made this the other night and it was fantastic! I was at grocery and did a quick search on my smartphone for a pollo asado recipe. This one looked simple enough, had five stars and the store had all the ingredients. Got home late and was only able to marinade chicken for about an hour. Otherwise followed the directions and this was some delicious chicken! Cubed the chicken breast, served with corn tortillas, chopped onion, cilantro and avocado. Boys went nuts over it and made for great leftovers. Will make this again and again!

Birdrocker September 24, 2015

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